Lifestyle plays a vital role in treating high blood pressure and keeping the numbers down. You can successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle and avoid taking medication.
You need to reduce or delay the need for medication.
How To Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Meds?
Here are some lifestyle changes that you can make to keep your blood pressure lower and treat it without medicine.
- Lose Extra Pounds
Blood pressure often rises as weight increases. Being overweight can also result in disrupted breathing during sleep, known as sleep apnea, and it can further raise your blood pressure.
Losing some weight is one of the most effective lifestyle change to control blood pressure. However, losing a small amount of weight if you are obese or overweight can help reduce your blood pressure. Generally, you can reduce your blood pressure by 1 millimeter of mercury by losing 1 kilogram of weight.
Apart from shedding pounds, you also need to keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight on your waist also increases the risk of high blood pressure.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can be helpful to reduce your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg. It is vital to be regular because your blood pressure will start rising again if you stop exercising.
If you are facing high blood pressure issues, you should exercise regularly to avoid developing hypertension. However, if you are already suffering from hypertension, regular physical activity can be helpful to keep your blood pressure down to safer levels.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Diet plays an important role to maintain your health. Eat a diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products can be helpful to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol lower by up to 11 mm Hg.
- Reducing Sodium in Your Diet
A slight decrease in the sodium in your diet can be helpful to improve heart health, and it helps to reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg. Sodium in the diet affects different people differently. Generally, limiting sodium to 2,300 mg a day or less.
- Limiting the Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can be bad for your health. The consumption of alcohol should be moderate. Usually, having one or two drinks a day can be helpful to keep the blood pressure lower by about 4 mm Hg. Drinking too much isn’t good for your health, and it has several effects on the human body.
Drinking more amounts of alcohol can increase blood pressure by several points. Moreover, it can also decrease the effectiveness of medications.
- Quit Smoking
Each cigarette you smoke can increase your blood pressure. Stopping smoking can be helpful to reduce your blood pressure to normal. Quitting smoking can be beneficial to reduce the risk of heart disease, and it also helps to improve your overall health. People who quit smoking can live a longer life than those who never quit smoking.
- Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine plays an essential role in blood pressure. Caffeine can increase blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who consume it rarely. However, people who drink coffee regularly may feel less or no effect on their blood pressure. Still, the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure are still unclear; there’s a possibility that blood pressure may increase slightly.
To check if caffeine affects your blood pressure, you should check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking. If the blood pressure increases by 5 to 10mm Hg, the caffeine affects your blood pressure.
- Reduce Your Stress
Higher stress can result in higher blood pressure. Although, more research is required to know the effects of long-lasting stress on your blood pressure. Occasional stress can also result in high blood pressure if you deal with depression by eating unhealthy food, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
Take your time to think and figure out the reasons to feel depressed, like, family, illness, or finances. Once you know the reason behind your depression, you need to consider reducing or eliminating the depression.
If you are unable to eliminate all of your depressions, you can at least try to cope with them more healthily. You can try to:
- Change your expectations
- Avoid stress triggers
- Focus on issues that you can control and make better plans to solve them
- Practice gratitude
- Make time to relax and perform activities you enjoy
- Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home
Monitoring your blood pressure at home can be helpful to keep track of your blood pressure, make sure that your lifestyle changes are offering better results, and inform your doctor about any potential health issues. Blood pressure monitors are available in the market, and you do not require a prescription to buy one.
Furthermore, visiting your doctor regularly is another key to controlling your blood pressure and if your blood pressure is controlled, ask your doctor about how often you should check it. However, your doctor may recommend checking it daily or less often if you are making any changes to the medications and other treatments.
- Get Support
Supportive friends and family can be helpful to improve your overall health, and their support can be encouraging to take care of yourself. Having people around who understand you are a great blessing indeed. However, it is also helpful to change your attitude towards dealing with problems and reducing blood pressure.
High blood pressure can result in damaging different organs of your body. However, it is also possible that BP can rise suddenly and cause a hypertensive crisis. A hypertensive crisis usually needs a hypertensive emergency.
While checking your blood pressure, you need to remember that measurements over 180 for systolic and 120 for diastolic are warning flags. You should wait for few minutes and check again. If readings are more than 180/120, then it is a medical emergency.
Amanda Wingfield is a certified Diabetes Management Specialist who also holds an MD in Endocrinology, with certifications from ABIM and AACE. She has a decade of experience serving thousands of patients through her independent practice and has been working in the capacity of an expert diabetes consultant for the past 4 years. Ms. Wingfield is revered by her regular readers for her in-depth research and evidence-based analysis of diabetes medications, supplements, and treatments, and her highly critical style of writing.